French Make it Official With Nice NFC Launch

May 27 2010

Organizers of France’s “precommercial” launch of Near Field Communication services in Nice have made it official, kicking off what they say is the first project of its kind in Europe and a “rehearsal” for a national rollout of NFC next year in France.

The government-backed Nice project, which involves four mobile operators, at least two banks and the city’s transit operator, will enable subscribers to tap their phones to pay fares for buses and trams, make purchases in some stores and tap smart posters for updated transit schedules and tourist information. NFC-based student services at the nearby University of Nice Sophia Antipolis will also be available.

The four mobile operators, Orange-France, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, will put around 4,000 NFC phones on sale to subscribers in Nice initially. The phones will be the NFC version of the popular, though sub-3G, touch-screen phone, the Samsung (S5230) Player One. The phone, nicknamed the Player One “cityzi” for this project, will store secure applications in SIM cards the telcos issue with a standard connection to NFC chips in the phones. Cityzi is the brand and acceptance mark organizers have chosen for NFC in France.

Organizers, which officially launched the project Friday, see it as a prelude to a national rollout, which could begin in the Paris region, where transit authority STIF has committed to rolling out NFC-based transit ticketing in 2011.

But in announcing the Nice launch, French mobile operator group Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM, has volunteered a projection that only about 500,000 subscribers could be equipped with NFC cityzi phones by the end of 2011.

Besides paying bus and tram fares, subscribers will be able to buy transit tickets over the air, including making purchases of up to 10 euros (US$12.40) directly from their operators, which will put the charges on the subscribers’ phone bills.

Retail payment is also part of the launch, although merchant acceptance is limited for now and only two banks have publicized plans for participation so far. Others are expected to follow later in the year.

One of those two banks is BNP Paribas, which announced Friday it would be issuing 5,000 contactless EMV cards to customers in Nice and will also make its “KIX” mobile-payment application available. The cards and phone payment service will support the Visa payWave contactless application.

For the phone application, customers must enter a “private code” on their handset keypads before completing a purchase. But for purchases below 20 euros, they could choose not to enter the PIN, the bank noted.

BNP is referring to both the contactless cards and NFC phone application as “trial offers,” not precommercial launches, involving 43 of its branches in and around Nice. It will begin to promote the project in June.

Customers with NFC phones will need to activate the payment applications preloaded on their SIM cards in bank branches, according to an announcement Friday by France-based Gemalto, which confirmed it is serving as trusted service manager, or TSM, for Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank. The bank is an owner of NRJ Mobile, which is a mobile virtual network operator.

Unlike with BNP Paribas, customers of Crédit Mutuel-CIC will be able to buy the NFC phones in their bank branches, not only in mobile shops, according to the Gemalto release.

Gemalto also announced Friday it will serve as TSM for operator Orange France. TSMs generally download and manage applications over the air to NFC phones.

UPDATE: France-based Oberthur Technologies is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources, as well as for telcos SFR and Bouygues. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The story earlier indicated that Gemalto and Oberthur were both serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC. The story should have stated Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel and Oberthur for BNP Paribas. See project page.)   

Article comments

 
Yves May 25 2010

Dan, who is providing TSM services for Crédit Mutuel, Gemalto or Oberthur ?

Dan Balaban's picture
Dan Balaban May 27 2010

Yves,
Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel. The story should have read that Oberthur is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources. Thanks for the question to clear up this point.

 
VAS2010 Jun 1 2010

Nice news)
Dan, will you show us statistic later?

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

Samsung Pay Nears Launch in Taiwan; Android Pay Expected to Follow

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Samsung Pay is expected to launch next month in Taiwan, followed by Android Pay, as the two global “Pays” wallets gear up to compete with Apple Pay on the island nation, NFC Times has learned.

Analysis: Following Delays, PayPal ‘Soon’ to Launch Next Attempt at In-Store Payments using Host Card Emulation

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – PayPal and Google announced a deal that promises to finally bring HCE payments to U.S. PayPal account holders, after delays–enabling users to pay with PayPal through Android Pay.

Vendor Blames Certification Woes for Slow Rollout of Payments Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A costly and time-consuming payments wearables certification process is a major contributor to delays in payments wearables getting into the hands of more consumers, Israel-based On Track Innovations’ director of marketing and head of innovations Nir Barr told NFC Times.

With Apple’s NFC Technology Locked, Denmark Tries BLE for Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With Apple showing no signs of backing off its policy of restricting use of its NFC technology to Apple Pay only, banks and payments services providers are looking for ways to enable their iPhone-packing customers to pay with their phones in stores, especially in countries where Apple Pay hasn’t yet launched.

Analysis: Fall in NFC SIM Card Shipments Years in the Making

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – SIM card vendor trade group the SIMalliance acknowledged for the first time that NFC SIM shipments are dropping and blamed disappointing take-up by consumers, as well as the tail end of the impact of the closing of the Softcard joint venture in early 2015. The group again declined to release global NFC SIM shipment figures, however.

Exclusive: Group of Major U.S. Banks Presses Visa to Open up Tokenization

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Some of the largest banks in the U.S. have been pressing Visa to allow them to tokenize their Visa-branded cards for mobile payments through a token service provider set up by their trade group, The Clearing House, which is owned by such major U.S. issuers as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One and Bank of America, NFC Times has learned.

Major French Banks Roll Out HCE as They Warily Await Expansion of ‘Pays’ in France

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There are markets where the major banks welcome Apple Pay and other “Pays” wallets, such as Taiwan, the most recent country to launch Apple Pay. And then there are countries where banks hold back.

As PayPal and Visa Extend Agreement to Asia-Pacific, PayPal Wallet Users Still Wait for In-Store Payments with NFC

NFC Times Exclusive – Visa and PayPal on Tuesday announced an extension to Asia-Pacific of last year’s agreement to work together on digital payments in the U.S., including opening up Visa tokenization and Visa payWave-enabled terminals to PayPal users for in-store NFC transactions.

Australian Antitrust Regulators: Apple’s Lock on NFC Technology Doesn’t Hurt Competition

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As expected, Australian antitrust regulators shot down a request by four major banks for permission to bargain collectively with Apple to try to gain access to the tech giant’s NFC technology in its iPhones and to jointly boycott participation in Apple Pay during the negotiations.

Apple Pay Launches in Taiwan; Banking Group Announces Local Token Service Provider, Though TSP Not Ready Yet

Apr 3 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – TAIPEI, Taiwan: Apple launched its mobile payments service in Taiwan today, before the end of the month as expected, as the tech giant expands Apple Pay to its 15th market globally.

Taiwan’s Domestic Debit Network to Launch Token Service Provider

Mar 29 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A number of Taiwanese banks plan to enable customers to load their debit card credentials into an HCE-enabled mobile wallet app starting this month, following the launch last year by the banks of HCE-enabled credit card payments, NFC Times has learned.

Samsung Launches Support for QR Code-Based Payments in India, as It Seeks to Broaden Merchant Acceptance

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung has expanded its mobile payments service to India, where Samsung Pay will integrate a QR code-based mobile wallet service, along with conventional NFC bank card payments and Samsung’s proprietary mobile mag-stripe payments technology, MST.